We aren't in NY, which probably explains it. We live in Georgia, and although it is getting more diverse, there are still many in this area that don't know Portugeuse from Arabic and still think anyone with dark skin is a foreigner. By far, a majority of Georgians would not be so ignorant, but it only takes a few, and he seems to run into more than most.
Your story made the hairs on my arm stand up. How creepy that you were possibly that close to such a monster. I always want to think that someone so evil would be obvious, and you would be able to tell right away. I know that it isn't this way in reality. That story will give me nightmares.
That's true. I live in North Florida now and I know that people in Georgia probably wouldn't recognize Portuguese (which is more guttural than Spanish).
Actually, I think I did notice something about these men on the train, because otherwise I wouldn't have remembered it. After 9/11, when the authorities were trying to figure out how Mohammed Atta had managed to meet with these people in Spain at a place nobody could detect, I wrote to the FBI. I never heard from them, but I am hoping they put "meeting on mass transit" in their database.